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Ten Things You Need To Know About the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

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Megan Warrington

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Megan Warrington

Author: Megan Warrington - 14 September 2018

Last Update: 30 January 2024

The Serengeti National Park could very well be the mecca of all national parks. With wildlife happenings which possess a certain fanfare that could be compared to major sporting events. It’s no wonder that the area is a national treasure to the Eastern African country of Tanzania and is situated on the Kenyan border.

It has deep significance to the heritage of the area and is famous the world over not just for its natural wonders but for its world-class accommodation facilities and safari tours. Here are 10 things you may or may not have known about this iconic piece of the African legacy.

One of the Seven Wonders in Africa

The Serengeti proudly stands among the seven natural wonders of Africa, sharing this honor with the majestic Nile River in Egypt, the expansive Sahara Desert spanning 11 countries, and the serene Okavango Delta in Botswana.

This designation highlights the park’s unparalleled natural beauty and ecological significance, drawing visitors worldwide to witness its breathtaking landscapes and diverse ecosystems.

There is an Entrance Fee to the Park

The entrance fee to the Serengeti is surprisingly affordable, especially considering the park’s global stature. Non resident adults (16 years and above) pay US$ 71.8, while children aged 5-16 and students are charged US$ 20. Infants below five years enjoy free admission.

A majestic male lion in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania | Photo credit: Usawa Serengeti Mobile Camp
A majestic male lion in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania | Photo credit: Usawa Serengeti Mobile Camp

These fees are considered among the most reasonable for a national park of this caliber in East Africa, making the Serengeti accessible to a wide range of travelers.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

While the Serengeti welcomes visitors year-round, each season offers a unique experience. The rainy season, typically from April to May, presents lush landscapes but challenging conditions. Dryer months provide clearer wildlife viewing opportunities, with the annual wildebeest migration being a highlight.

Consider your interests, whether it’s witnessing the Great Migration or exploring the park’s diverse habitats, to determine the optimal time for your visit.

Where to Stay

Contrary to the notion of ‘roughing it,’ the Serengeti boasts an array of luxurious accommodations. From opulent bush lodges to deluxe campsites, the park caters to the refined tastes of discerning travelers.

Elephant walks past Singita Serengeti House in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania | Photo credit: Singita Serengeti House
Elephant walks past Singita Serengeti House in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania | Photo credit: Singita Serengeti House

These establishments offer a perfect blend of comfort and wilderness immersion, ensuring a memorable stay in one of the world’s most iconic wildlife sanctuaries.

One of the Oldest Ecosystems on the Planet

The Serengeti ecosystem, one of the planet’s oldest, offers a glimpse into a nearly unchanged prehistoric world. With a history spanning over a million years, its weather patterns, flora, and fauna have remained largely intact, providing invaluable insights into early ecological systems.

This ancient landscape serves as a living laboratory for scientists and a fascinating window into the past for visitors.

Experience Swahili and Masai culture

The Serengeti is not just a wildlife haven but a mosaic of rich cultural heritage. It’s the ancestral land of the Masai people, an indigenous tribe that has preserved their ancient rituals and way of life. Visitors have the unique opportunity to engage with the Masai, learning about their deep connection with nature and their traditional practices.

Simultaneously, the pervasive Swahili culture in Tanzania enriches the visitor experience. A journey through the Serengeti includes immersive experiences like sampling local Swahili cuisine and understanding their customs.

Conservation Efforts in the Serengeti

The Serengeti’s conservation initiatives play a pivotal role in preserving this unique ecosystem. Efforts by local and international organizations focus on protecting the diverse species within the park, combating poaching, and ensuring sustainable tourism practices.

African wild dog in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
African wild dog in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

The park’s management works tirelessly to maintain a balance between visitor experiences and the well-being of wildlife. Educational programs and research projects within the park contribute to a better understanding of conservation needs and challenges.

The Birdwatcher’s Paradise

Apart from its famous mammalian fauna, the Serengeti is a haven for bird enthusiasts. Home to over 500 bird species, the park offers an unparalleled birding safari experience. From the majestic Martial Eagle to the colorful Lilac-breasted Roller, birdwatchers can revel in the sight of some of Africa’s most exotic and rare bird species.

The varied landscapes of the Serengeti, including savannahs, swamps, and woodlands, create a perfect habitat for diverse birdlife.

Home of the Great Migration

The Great Migration of over two million wildebeest, accompanied by zebras, eland, and gazelles, is a spectacular natural event. Witnessing this dramatic journey across rivers and plains, with predators like crocodiles lying in wait, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Wildebeest grazing in Ndutu area, Serengeti National Park.
Wildebeest grazing in Ndutu area, Serengeti National Park.

This awe-inspiring phenomenon is a testament to the resilience and beauty of nature, capturing the essence of the wild African spirit.

No Night Drives in the Serengeti, but This is Allowed Nearby

While night drives are not permitted within the Serengeti National Park, nearby lodges offer nocturnal safari experiences. These drives reveal a different aspect of the wilderness, with nocturnal creatures like civets, bush babies, and aardvarks emerging under the cover of darkness.

The absence of fences around the Serengeti enhances the likelihood of encountering a diverse range of wildlife during these exhilarating night excursions.


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